Kicking myself due to the late start to the day ...I eventually grabbed my kit, boot, sticks, steaks , Bubba-Q and beers ...all essential winter kit and headed into town to catch the train to Arrochar.
I hit the city center for 10 mins in- between trains and already I could feel the stress oozing out of the very pores of the Xmas shoppers and etched all over their faces as they bumped and jostled each other like prize fighters to part with their hard-earned money at the tills of the retail Gods
None of that for Bubba today ...I was heading for some downtime on the snowline and some winter fun in the Alps.
Leaving behind all the Christmas shopping stress, I jumped the train at Queen St. and headed for the hills for some tranquilty
Pretty soon I was heading down the track with the Clyde coast opening up as we passed Bowling Basin and Dumbarton Castle on the way to Arrochar.
Just before the train station the Arrochar Alps came into view in all their glory and I could distinctly see the outline of the Cobbler (884), Ben Ime (1011), Ben Narnain(926), the Creag Tharsuinn ridge and A'Chrois (848) with the snow line starting around 2000ft up.
Got off the train at Arrochar-Tarbet station and walked the 30mins downhill into Arrochar and hen 10mins round to the usual starting point across from the Succoth car park.
Not hanging about ...I yomped it up the zigzag track to Bubbas Creek then on up the Butter Burn path, past the Narnain Boulders then left across the Allt a Bhalachairn to start the ascent up towards the col between the Cobblers Last and the Needle itself.
The mission today was to reach the snowline and fire up the Bubba -Q as soon as.... to have the first winter BBQ of the season.
The snow was wet, slushy and slippy, but I soon found an ideal spot to have some steak fajitas and some Drambuie Hot Apple Toddy
I managed to fire up the Bubba -Q despite the wind threatening to blow me back down the hill
Several groups past me as they came 'bum sledging' off the hill with shouts of glee at being able to enjoy their first snow of the season and I watched them disappear into the fast fading light further done the path.
Suddenly I was on my own again listening to the sound of the wind rushing down the glen.
Just as I was tidying up a lone figure game bouncing down the hill with a dog.
Surprised to see that I was NOT the last person off the hill ...I gave him a cheery wave and we started chatting.
Turns out his name was Davie and his dog was called Graham Davie said he could smell my Ribeye steak all the way from the top and was keen to find out if he was suffering some 'altitude sickness' and 'hallucinating ' about steaks or was the smell real.
He rescued my gloves which were whisked away by the wind as I was packing up the Bubba -Q and we bounced of the mountain together chatting away and swapping stories all the way back down to the car park using our head torches on the last part of the trail from Bubbas Creek Weir.
He kindly offered to give me a lift back to Balloch to catch the Glasgow train which I happily accepted and we told tales of other hill walks that we had done, swapping tips as 'kindred spirits' do.
Another epic day at Boot Camp ..done and dusted, looking forward to some more winter walking as soon as more snow arrives and so glad I was able to leave behind the madness of the xmas shopping crowds and chill out in the hills, literally.
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Warning Please note that hillwalking when there is snow lying requires an ice-axe, crampons and the knowledge, experience and skill to use them correctly. Summer routes may not be viable or appropriate in winter. See winter information on our skills and safety pages for more information.